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Message to Superintendents Regarding Stimulus Funds

TO: Superintendents of Schools
FROM: Susan A. Gendron
DATE: February 18, 2009
SUBJECT: Federal Stimulus Package Information

I would like to share with you some preliminary information regarding the recently passed federal stimulus legislation and how it will impact education funding in Maine.  The State Stabilization Fund provides the Governor the opportunity to restore the FY 2009 reduction of $27 million.  Once we have definitive guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, the Governor will issue a Financial Order restoring the reduction to each school administrative unit.  There will be requirements on the use of these funds; I do not have the details, but expect them shortly.  I felt it was important to notify you as soon as possible about the restoration of the reduction to FY 2009.

It is important to remember that all numbers, including spreadsheets you may have seen from a variety of sources are preliminary.  To date we have not received definitive spreadsheets for the state or individual SAUs from the U.S. Department of Education.  We are continuing to research the details of this package and there are several areas where we will need guidance from USDE regarding eligibility for certain funds and how they can/must be applied.  For all these reasons, I urge you to learn what you can, but to exercise utmost caution in drawing conclusions about what funds you may receive and what they may be used for.  I will continue to provide details as they emerge.

One final note: as you are aware, the stimulus package contains education funds for a two-year period.  We must assume that at the end of those two years federal funding will revert to previous levels.  Coupled with the national and state economic situation, we must assume, at least for now, that combined federal and state funding starting in FY 2012 will be significantly lower than it will be in FY 2010 and FY 2011.  For that reason, we urge extreme caution how districts apply the funds.  New programs created with an infusion of new funds may not be sustainable once those funds disappear.